Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Prefix 'ir'

You may change the meaning of some words by adding the prefix 'ir' (meaning "not").

irregular, irreplaceable, irresponsible, irrational, irrecoverable, irrelevant, irresistable, irretrievable, irreversible

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Prefix 'im'

You may change the meaning of some words by adding the prefix 'im' (meaning "not").

immobile, impermanent, impossible, immature, imperfect, impolite, imbalance, impersonal, immeasurable, immoral, immovable, immortal, impatient, impractical, imprecise, improper


Monday, 26 April 2010

Prefix 'un'

You may change the meaning of many adjectives by adding prefix 'un' meaning "not".

unable, unaffordable, unbelievable, unacceptable, unattached, unaware, uncertain, unbearable, unbreakable, unadventurous, unbeatable, uncomfortable, unfashionable, uncommon, uncovered, unfinished, unconnected, undecided, uneven, unforgettable, unconscious, unexpected, unimaginable, unnoticed, unpleasant, unhappiness, unlucky, unintentional, unhelpful, unknown, unpack, unidentified, unkind, unproductive, unnatural, unqualified, unsafe, untitled, unwanted, unreasonable, unwell, unreliable, unusual, untidy

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Compound nouns

A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words. e.g. toothpaste

bedroom, raincoat, eyesight, dustbin, footstep, handbag, headquarters, notebook, postcard, rainbow

Compounds are sometimes written with a hyphen, as two separate words or as a single word. There are no clear rules.
ice-cream, ice cream, icecream

Compound nouns can also be formed using these word combinations:-

Noun + Noun (handbag)
Noun + Verb (sunset)

Adjective + Noun (weekly ticket)
Adjective + Verb (dry-cleaning)

Verb + Noun (sleep walker)

Preposition + Noun (underground)

Culture file - Sri Lankan home cooking

Friday, 23 April 2010

'al' as a prefix (spelling)

Words which use al as a prefix are spelt with one –l

always, altogether,also, although, already,alright, almost

Take and bring

take/took/taken = from here to there
bring/brought/brought = from there to here

Thursday, 22 April 2010

'ful' as a suffix (spelling)

When ‘ful’ is used as a suffix (to mean "full of") it should be spelt with one -l

beautiful (full of beauty)
careful (full of care)
eventful (full of events)
fearful (full of fear)
forceful (full of force)
graceful (full of grace)
harmful (full of harm)
hateful (full of hate)
helpful (full of help)
hopeful (full of hope)
hurtful (full of hurt)
joyful (full of joy)
meaningful (full of meaning)
painful (full of pain)
peaceful (full of peace)
playful (full of play)
powerful (full of power)
purposeful (full of purpose)
regretful (full of regret)
shameful (full of shame)
sorrowful (full of sorrow)
skilful (full of skill)
successful (full of success)
thoughtful (full of thought)
useful (full of use)
wasteful (full of waste)

Sunday, 18 April 2010


The opposite of a word depends on how it is used in a sentence.

absence - presence
accidental - intentional
approximately - exactly
apart - together
to argue - to agree
complicated - simple
deep - shallow
to deny - to admit
foreign - domestic
immigration - emigration
to include – to exclude
minor -major
moderate - extreme
natural - artificial
private - public
professional - amateur
rude - polite
shelter - exposure
shorten - lengthen
supporter - opponent
urban - rural
vertical - horizontal
voluntary - compulsory
to work – to rest
wealth – poverty

Culture file - Sri Lankan New Year

New Year has traditionally been a harvest festival in Sri Lanka which is celebrated by cooking and eating the New Year meal with family and friends often in the villages.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Spelling 'ent' or 'ant'

relevant, pleasant, observant, important, extravagant, reluctant, assistant, accountant, arrogant, elegant, ignorant

confindent, independent, patient, obedient, permanent, current, convenient, accident, absent, accent, client, content, equipment, innocent

Friday, 16 April 2010

Rhyming words

Understanding how words rhyme helps with pronunciation.

bird, word, third, heard
buys, tries, advice, prize
come, some, sum, thumb
dear, beer, clear, fear
go, toe, know, throw
goes, chose, shows, toes
good, could, should, wood
great, late, straight, weight
knew, grew, through, threw
made, paid, played, afraid
most, post, toast, roast
news, shoes, choose, lose
phone, shown, alone, thrown
please, trees, knees, peas
there, hair, care, wear

Parts of an animal

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Two words or one?

Already / all ready
We’ve already eaten. (finished)
My friends were all ready to go to the party. (all of them)

Alright/ all right
Is she alright? (fine)
He got the answers all right. (correct)

Altogether / all together
1, 2, 3. That’s 3 people altogether. (in total)
Why don’t we go to the party all together. (at the same time)

Everyday / every day
Jeans are my everyday clothes. (ordinary)
Every day I wake up at 7am. (each day)

Everyone / every one
enjoyed the party. (all people)
Every one of the hats is red. (each one)

Maybe/ may be
Maybe he’s sleeping. (perhaps)
He may be sleeping. (might be)

Sometimes / some times
I sometimes study. (occasionally)
During some times in the summer it gets hot. (some periods)

Monday, 12 April 2010


Day (24 hours)
Week (7 days)
Thrice weekly (three times a week)
Month (28-31 days)
Bimonthly (every two months or twice a month)
Year (365 days or 12 months or 52 weeks)
Annual (every year)
Biannual (twice a year)
Biennial (2 years)
Leap year (366 days)
Decade (10 years)
Century (100 years)
Centennial (every 100 years)
Millennium (1,000 years)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Portmanteau words

New expressions are often formed by combining parts of two words.

blog (web + log)
motel (motor + hotel)
smog (smoke + fog)
bedsit (bedroom + sitting room)
brunch (breakfast + lunch)
pixel (picture + element)
camcorder (camera + video recorder)
vegeburger (vegetarian + burger)
shopaholic (shopping + alcoholic)
Interpol (international + police)
guesstimate (guess + estimate)
Swatch (Swiss + watch)
Eurovision (Europe + television)
telethon (telephone + marathon)

The age cycle


A cliché is an expression that has been used over and over again and so it loses its originality.

Some examples of clichés:

Have a nice day!
Just a minute
Without a doubt
that was the best film I’ve seen.
I had the time of my life.
We waited for hours for the singer to appear but it was well worth the wait.
Even to this day I can’t understand English very well.
The film was a waste of time.
I was having such a good time that I lost track of time.
The film was so boring. It seemed to last forever.
The new manager made a big impression on me.
For the life of me I couldn’t remember his name.
To tell the truth, I didn’t enjoy the film very much.
It was late, I was tired and I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
They know full well that I don’t drink.
Let’s call it a day. We’ve been working for ten hours now.
Do you remember the good old days?
We were standing outside and the next thing I knew it was raining.
We’ll be there in an hour, give or take.
Shall we go out to eat? Now, that sounds like a plan.
I’ve never heard of that before! You live and learn.

Friday, 9 April 2010

The phonemic chart (pronunciation)




Phonetic alphabet

This is useful for spelling words over the telephone.

A Alpha
B Bravo
C Charlie
D Delta
E Echo
F Foxtrot
G Golf
H Hotel
I India
J Juliet
K Kilo
L Lima
M Mike
N November
O Oscar
P Papa
Q Quebec
R Romeo
S Sierra
T Tango
U Uniform
V Victor
W Whisky
X X-ray
Y Yankee
Z Zulu

Punctuation marks

Capital letter A
Small letter a

. Full stop (UK), period (USA) e.g. My name is Jo.
? Question mark e.g. Where are you from?
Exclamation e.g. Really!

, Comma e.g. We bought apples, bananas and strawberries.
; Semicolon e.g. Jo eats eggs; Pat eats bacon.
: Colon e.g. You’ll need three items: shoes, a t-shirt and jeans.

-Hyphen e.g. I’m forty-one years old.
/Slash e.g.

Apostrophe e.g. Jos name is short.
“”Quotation marks e.g. Jo said, My name is short.

() Parenthesis, brackets
[]Square brackets

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Shortened names

Often English names are shortened. Here are a few shortened names with their long form.

Andy – Andrew
Bill – William
Bob – Robert
Chris – Christopher
Dick – Richard
Fred – Frederick
Harry – Harold
Jim – James
Joe – Joseph
Mike – Michael
Ted – Edward
Tom – Thomas
Tony – Antony

Cathy – Catherine
Di - Diana
Jenny – Jennifer
Liz – Elizabeth
Maggie – Margaret
Pam – Pamela
Sue – Susan
Tricia – Patricia


Sometimes the animal whose meat we eat has a different name.

Pigpork, bacon, ham

Body parts

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Monday, 5 April 2010

Culture file (a popular sport) - cricket

Cricket is a popular sport and a hobby to many in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well as other countries worldwide. Friends get together in their free time to play cricket in parks and empty sports fields.

Greek words used in English

angel, anxious, agony, aerobics, athlete, aesthetic, academy, acme, acrobat, allergy, alphabet, amnesia, amnesty, analysis, anthropology, anthem, anonymous, apology, arithmetic, aristocracy, architecture, aroma, asylum, atlas, automatic, autobiography

bacteria, base, basis, barbarian, bibliography, biology

clone, cosmetic, cosmopolitan, category, centre, chaos, character, choreography, cycle, comedy

diagonal, delta, decade, dialogue, diabetes, diagnosis, diet, drastic, dynamics, democracy, demographics, dinosaur, dilemma

ego, encyclopedia, elastic, ecology, economy, ethics, epilogue

geography, galaxy, genesis, giant, glossary, gynecology, guitar

hierarchy, hippopotamus, history, horizontal, helicopter, hygiene, horoscope

machine, mega, mathematics, method, meter, monotony, monologue, monopoly, music, museum, monogamy

neurology, nostalgia

octopus, omega, organ, oxygen

pediatrician, pandemic, panorama, patriarch, period, philosophy, phobia, political, prologue, program

telephone, telescope, theory, therapy, toxic, tragedy